Posts Tagged ‘ losing my mom ’

My Nanny=My Wife

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Author’s Note: Join me every Tuesday or Wednesday for “Moving Mid Pregnancy,” to read about my ongoing search for a new “everything” (from nannies to mom friends to health providers) while pregnant and living in a new city.

I hired a nanny full time. I better hide behind a duck blind to keep from getting shot, given the outrage from my Sitter Chronicles awhile back. i.e: Why aren’t you raising your kids yourself? –was the gist of many comments. But hear me out:

It takes a village right? Well, I am new to LA. I have no village. No family nearby. And I don’t have a ton of close friends yet–or at least friends who don’t have their own lives, jobs, kids to take care of. And even if I did, I wouldn’t burden them with helping me. I just felt like with 2 babies, I’d be a better mom if I didn’t feel constant pressure to be the “only one.” So here’s how it’s shaping up:

Cleo, my nanny, is part time now. She becomes full time once baby Leroy (working title) comes. This isn’t so I can skip off and take tennis lessons (not that there is anything wrong with that, but I’m not a Desperate Housewife). This is so I can pick and choose the quality time to spend with either Fia or Baby. Or by myself. No one wins a medal for carting two kids around all the time. I mean, plenty of people do it. Many out of necessity. I am just incredibly grateful to have the means to hire help. (I often hear, “Well, our parents did it.” I laugh at that. God, if you had known my parents, you’d know that they are not to be put on pedestals for their stellar parenting!)

A little bit about Cleo: She is the wife I always wanted. She sweeps my floors while Fia naps. She cooks for me! As in homemade soups, salads, black beans from scratch….she can look in the fridge and see meals where I see nothing. She brings me afternoon tea if I’m in my office writing. I don’t ask her to do any of this. She is just a nurturer. I am in love.

I found her on a website/listserv out here called Booby Brigade. She had amazing recommendations. When she walked in, Phil and I both knew. She was the one. Like my friend Teresa said: finding a good nanny is harder than finding your spouse. So I feel like I’ve found both.

She’s from El Salvador and is speaking Spanish to Fia, and will to the new baby as well. She raised 5 kids on her own here. Her youngest daughter is 15 and she sometimes brings her with if she’s watching Fia for our date night. Fia loves them both. I feel like they just add a good energy to our house.

I’m hoping that by having her, I’ll handle the newborn phase a little better than I did with Fia. If nothing else, I should be able to take naps and catch up on sleep with a second set of hands. I think this is a great solution for me in terms of juggling a household, a 2-year old, my freelance work, and a newborn.

Any of your pregnant women planning on full time help even if you don’t have a full time job outside of the home? Dare I ask if you think I’m indulgent or smart?

 

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Milestone Monday: Memory Lane

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Author’s Note: Join me every Monday as I share Fia’s ongoing milestone (mis)adventures–from potty training to talking to everything in between.  Mayhem and mischief guaranteed on Milestone Monday!

A Special Shakey's Moment

When I was a kid, going out to dinner was a treat. My mom (who passed away in June) ran her own plant business and whenever she had one of her sales, if she did well, that was our reward.  The sale was always on a Sunday at our house in the garage she had converted to a greenhouse. We’d run up to her constantly and look in the cash drawer.

“Mom, do you think you’re making enough for us to go to dinner?”

“Not if you guys keep distracting me from my customers,” she’d say with a laugh.

It was always a toss up between Shakey’s Pizza and Ponderosa. Both had the all-you-could-eat salad bar. At Ponderosa, we loved taking the red plastic tray down the line to pick out side dishes. We always brought our lunch to school, so cafeteria style, complete with hot food was like hitting it big time.  And the vinyl booths both places sported? You couldn’t get more chic.

Shakey’s had the arcade. We’d play the games while we waited for our pizza. And we’d always walk out with some form of trinket junk that would inevitably end up on the floor of the car, or in the hamsters cage a week later, with everyone denying who put it there.

On Sunday, it was pouring rain here in LA. I was stir crazy. I begged Phil to go with me to Lamps Plus. We desperately needed light in our living room. He equates lamp stores to the horrible fabric stores his mom dragged him to as a kid. But after much debate, he agreed. I’ll admit, having a hyper 2-year old running through a crowded lamp store screaming “I pooped!” isn’t ideal, but we found two lights so mission accomplished (btw—she didn’t poop. It just happens to be her favorite sentence).

On the way home, I spotted a Shakey’s Pizza.  Phil was game, seeing as his day was already ruined by the PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) of Lamps Plus. We started to reminisce about our childhood Shakey’s experiences. We got excited to take Fia. We agreed it was a milestone—a rite of passage. Granted, she’s a little young, but we’re overachievers.

It was 5 pm and jam-packed. Phil ordered and I took Fia to the arcade, where she touched every button, even the car pedal on the floor. I was totally grossed out. There were kids running everywhere and I could feel the filth in the air. She won a spin top trinket. The perfect choking hazard.  She was so excited putting her tickets into the machine. “More! More!” she kept yelling.

She was in heaven.

At our booth, Fia kept touching the vinyl part that was ripped, laughing, while trying to destroy the hole further. I grabbed the sani-wipes and went to town on everything— the highchair, table, our hands—even the booth.

At the salad bar, I cringed at the cough guard, trying to forget a Dateline special I saw about the germs on those things.

When the pizza came, Phil and I could barely eat it. Granted, we’re snobby NYC pizza lovers, but this stuff tasted worse than frozen. Fia, who is typically a picky eater, devoured it, all the while playing with her choking hazard toy.  And for once in her life, she couldn’t get enough of the garbanzo beans from the salad bar.  At a nice restaurant she will refuse them. Here, they were like candy. She ate about 33 of them.

That night, all I could think of was how gross I felt; how I have to start exercising and eating better. Fia slept the longest she has in months–12 hours.

As a grownup, I’m a snob with a lot of stuff.  And I guess this is one of them.  I can’t say we’re going to become regulars at Shakey’s. Or ever go there again. But even at the expense of my sanity, I’ll admit, it’s fun traveling down memory lane, marveling at how little we cared about things as kids that we adults get so uptight about. This is the part of parenthood that puts life in perspective. In a good way.

Every once in a while we all need a Shakey’s experience. Tell me yours.

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